Geek Squad Gouges

The number one rule of responsible consumerism: know more about what you’re buying than the guy selling it to you. But it’s a counterintuitive one. After all, you buy based on someone’s pitch to you, that you need what he’s selling. You get something repaired with the understanding that you don’t have the knowledge to fix a problem yourself. But it’s the number one rule of consumerism for a reason: you just can’t trust the guy taking your money to be honest.

And here’s a reminder why. We got a great email from an ex Best Buy Geek Squad service department member, who confesses to having gouged customers time and time again for trivial repairs. Why? Essentially, because if he didn’t, he faced immediate termination.

Our Ex-Geek-Squad mole is repentant. Best Buy? Not at all. The email, after the jump.

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In response to the video segment “Jiffy Lube Scam Revealed (Again)” I would like to point out that the Best Buy / Geek Squad service departments are guilty of the exact same offense.

I was originally hired in October 2003 and later ended my employment in April 2006 working as a Geek Squad part-time employee than the Geek Squad Senior and later as just a full-time Geek Squad employee. During my employment practices of the Geek Squad grew far more deceptive even enough to the point where I was embarrassed to be an employee and didn’t want to put that employment on my resume.

As a Geek Squad employee you are expected to meet certain budgets regardless of hours worked and complete x number of units in a day or risk immediate termination. In order to meet the budgets I constantly found that my coworkers, my senior(s), my managers and I regret to admit myself were deceiving customers. Often times I would review tickets and find that units were being checked in that suffered only from minor Windows problems that might take less than 30 minutes to complete however on the ticket they were charged for an OS repair, malware removal and tune-up which at the time cost $118. The units often only had one tracking cookie or some temp files and there was no sign of a malware problem and no need for a tune-up.

I also found that many of my co-workers would intentionally remove the customer’s anti-virus or tell that customer that in order for us to guarantee the work completed our anti-virus had to be installed. In addition to trapping many people with the threats of stolen data and virus infections causing further damage we were instructed by our managers to specifically target older customers, first time computer owners and the lesser educated.

In addition to meeting budget goals we were expected to meet total turn times of less than 24 hours and often far more units were checked in than could be completed in 24 hours. As many computer technicians know completing a malware removal takes more than 24 hours just for scans. In order to meet turn times of less than 24 hours we were told to complete work quickly, not double check our work and not complete full scans. I would say that maybe 1 outta 10 computers were completed correctly and more than half the units came back with the exact same problems more than once.

Geek Squad is guilty of many of the same infractions that plagued Jiffy Lube. As a loyal Consumerist follower I feel that I need to repay many of the favors / warnings that Consumerist has helped me with. I would be happy to provide you with any more information you need.

Comments

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  1. JackieTreehorn says:

    The difference between Geek Squad and Jiffy Lube is that, when the Geek Squad guys screw you, you can kick the crap out of them afterward.

  2. pete says:

    I feel so badly whenever I’m in CompUSA, BBuy, etc. and I see people standing in line for the repair desk, especially for the ridiculous rates they charge (almost $100 an hour at CompUSA).
    I always want to slip them my card and save them the time/frustration, but I don’t, I consider that bad form.

    Always try to find the local geek before resorting to these services. We’re more honest, more knowledgeable, and usually a lot cheaper.

  3. This doesnt’ suprise me. they have to pay for those TV ads and those little VW beetles.

    the problem with the home repair guy is this – people want to go to a store and talk to someone. many people 1) feel uncomfortable going to someone’s house; or having someone not bonded in their house and 2) people are willing to pay more for a “professional look”.

    Most computer repair guys around here fall into 2 categories – young kids who think they know everything and screw up more because they don’t listen and older guys who are slower and charge “too much”. not really too much, but see a lot of people are cheap. they will overpay at best buy but they will charge the guy who comes around the corner for 4 hours of work like $20.

  4. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    Shouldn’t these situations be escalated? People get sued in this country for almost anything, why is it that companies like Jiffy Lube and Geek Squad can commit consumer fraud and not face any legal consequences? They just blame it on a rogue employee and claim it’s against company policy, then they hire some new ones and do it again.

    We can clearly see that the pressure on the employee is coming down from above. For evidence of that you just need to ask youself what a Geek Squad employee has to gain by scamming you. From confessions like this, it’s clearly nothing. They only do it to keep their job, not to profit further.

  5. Brianron says:

    My experience with Geek Squad is not that they are dishonest, but that the prices charged are just ungodly excessive. They prey on those people who are unsophisticated. That is, when a person doesn’t realize or understand how to use anti-malware tools, they will come in, charge upwards of $250 for just ridding these people’s system of the malware, something that Adaware and Spybot can do for free. They know these people don’t really know anything about computers so to these people, it seems like they are doing something sophisticated and miraculous, so they just pay it.

    I once had a problem which I called them to fix and I was lucky enough to get an honest worker who explained all this to me.

    Is this illegal? No. It is just preying on ignorance, and therefore, unethical.

  6. adamondi says:

    Am I the only one that finds it ludicrous that this guy claims that a malware scan takes more than 24 hours? What exactly is being used to scan customers’ computers? I scan my own system regularly with a few different programs, and I can complete three different full-system scans in about 1 hour. If you have so much malware on your system that it requires 24 hours to scan (not even remove and repair), then maybe you should just reformat and reinstall.

    Throw some more fishiness on the whole pile, I guess.

    • Anonymous says:

      It depends on the size of the harddrive and how much stuff is on it. If you do a full system scan a harddrive with 30G of data will finish scaning long before a system with several harddrives and 1.5TB of data. @adamondi:

  7. Magister says:

    The 24hr scan bothers me too.

    Reminds me of a tech that came to my house to replace my GPU on my new laptop, it had fried and needed to be replaced.

    While he was taking apart the laptop, he wouldn’t stop talking about how much he knew. Just kept on bragging that he fixes this particular laptop model all the time.

    He put it back together and …. NOTHING.. He had screwed up. It was pretty funny, he would never admit that he just ‘missed’ something. So he took it back apart and check everthing, then it worked. But the second attempt was near silence, except for the ‘well it happens’.

  8. AcidReign says:

    …..24 hours? Even Spinrite on a 300 gig drive doesn’t take that long!

  9. ganzhimself says:

    I work for a small company that does the same thing that GeekSquad does. If you have to repeat scans to ensure all traces are gone it can take a long time. On a slow computer with a lot of files doing one run of SysClean, SpyBot, Adaware, SpySweeper, SAV, Windows Defender, and HijackThis could take 24 hours… Our policy is to repeat the scans if something comes up in the scan, increasing the time for repairs, but it also helps ensure they’re not coming back in two days with the same problems.

  10. GenXCub says:

    I think cities that have Fry’s Electronics have sufficiently prepared us for the horrors of Best Buy and circuit city. Fry’s makes no beans about being el cheapo. You go in there already knowing that you MUST know more than the salespeople, or bring someone who does, because English-As-A-Third-Language guy probably can’t be the most clear on what you need. Shoddy service? Yes, but you knew that and planned for the contingency, or just became more knowledgable about how to service whatever you bought. Best Buy, et al, creates the illusion that the people there must give better service… after all, they charge more.

  11. Manue says:

    Now, welcome to Manue’s boyfriend repair center where all is free (we accept wine donations) and the girlfriend (myself) is arrrrgh! about the computers in the living room. However, I am proud to say that my parents, grand-mother, friends and family are not paying for to have their little cookies removed, or to plug their webcam USB in the USB port.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Manue: I do bet however that the boyfriend would like to make something for his efforts. I pretty much worked for free when I first started if only because I officially wasn’t a business yet. People demanded that I charge them something. A few wouldn’t even let me touch the computer until I picked an hourly rate.

  12. Demingite says:

    Ex-Geek Squader: Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming forward. Let me ask you a question: Do you think the Geek Squad phenomena you describe is specific to the store you worked in, or could it be happening throughout the entire Best Buy chain?

    I admit that I personally suspect the latter. (I don’t know for sure, though.)

    I would guess that the “budgets” are chain-wide, as I believe they are with Jiffy Lube. And I would guess that they would create similar phenomena across different stores…that the ex-Geed Squader who wrote in is not an exception. Just like “John” at AOL, who answered Vincent Ferrari’s random call, was not at all an exception, although AOL pretended otherwise to the media.

    These quotas are the same preposterous, human values-foregoing, customer-screwing stuff we saw with the “save” quotas in the retention queue at AOL. They make no sense, other than for hamfisted immediate money-taking (stealing?). (A big “other” if your corporate culture is more concerned about stock price than customer service, customer satisfaction, or reputation. Remember also that Best Buy is the notorious king of “extended service plans,” which provide immediate extra revenue to Best Buy, and very little value overall to customers.)

    Ex-Geek Squader: Would you say that things you and your colleagues did were essentially criminal fraud?

    If, say, these practices are in fact happening throughout the Best Buy chain…well, I’d say this would be a huge story.

    I hope additional former or present Geek Squaders will come forward to enlighten us.

  13. Kat says:

    I worked for Best Buy as a PC Tech before Geek Squad came in. The same practices occurred then. For example, one elderly gentleman had brought his computer in and he ended up needing a hard drive wipe. I spoke with him on the phone and he said he’d like all his software reinstalled (messengers, RealPlayer, things like that). I was supposed to charge him $20 per program, but I instead charged him one $20 fee and reinstalled them all. My manager did say something to me about it, but I played dumb, like I hadn’t known that was policy. (It was within the first 60 days of my employment.)

    We had several meetings about how things that need to be charged for, were not getting charged. Some of it was stuff so simple I would have charged them $5 for, if I had been an independent tech.

    I am so glad I quit before Geek Squad came in. $7.50/hour isn’t enough pay for me (a girl) to wear a tie. (Not to mention the cost of buying a 2nd new wardrobe for work, after having bought khakis and the store shirts when I’d started.)

  14. modestmac says:

    Ok time to be the black sheep..

    Quick and to the point..this is not wverywhere.  Many Agents for this company will tell you these people make us sick.  We try to the best of our abity to weed out these types.  I personally have a high moral standing and will not compromise this for any company.  i have been with Geek Squad for 2 yrs and have not once gouged any prices.  I can’t say this is true with everyone, as with any company this large some people will do what they deem to make certain figures.  

    Food for thought, did he quit or was he fired for unethical practices?

    And anyone making 7.50 an hour does not work for Geek Squad (I know I wouldn’t)

  15. GSInsider says:

    I submitted the letter regarding the Geek Squad letter shortly after watching the Jiffy Lube video because I felt that a similar phenomena was occurring at Best Buy with the Geek Squad. I wanted to take a moment to respond to some of the above comments.

    In response to the comment from adamondi -
    The 24 hour turn time starts when the unit is checked into the repair system and ends when the ticket is closed and is not 24 business hours. If a computer is brought in at noon the technician working on the ticket has until the store closes that day and from when the store opens the next. You also have to keep in mind that Geek Squad agents not only work on the computers but are responsible for sales of their services, answering general customer questions, ringing out computer packages and general cleaning duties. During that 24 hour period the other expectations take the majority of an agents time resulting in far less than 24 hours to actually work on the unit.

    In response to the comments about consumer fraud (specifically Zoidberg and Demingite) –
    I worked for different stores from the same district and have countless friends that work for other stores outside our district. I can’t say for sure that the phenomena occurring within the two stores I worked for is happening company wide however it has been my experience that there are managers and employees at every store that are guilty of the same thing. Agents are specifically trained to identify any malware infection and respond by offering what was described in the letter. Agents are trained that even the slightest cookie or temp file needs to full package as described in my letter. I would not say that what is occurring is exactly criminal fraud on the part of the employees, however I feel that the issue needs to be dealt with and consumers, the local media and Best Buy need to be listening to complaints such as this. Many of the employees were just trying to get by inbetween jobs or while in school and I feel that they did nothing wrong. It is the supervisors and managers that are not only putting the pressure on the employee, but setting an example by doing it.

    In response to the comments from modestmac –
    First, I chose to leave on my own accord and was not fired for unethical practices. When I left two other employees also chose to leave as well because of what I described above. Second, I did not make 7.50 / hour. I was more in the 12 – 13 an hour range. There are some employees like modestmac and Geek Squad needs more people like him. I know that even he has to admit that he has felt pressure to do the same from seniors, supervisors and management.

    This story was posted to digg.com immed. after the story was posted on Consumerist so please digg this story. I would like to get this story out to as many people as possible. Consumers need to be educated on the problems with Geek Squad and know that there are other options. I have also submitted the Consumerist link and my letter to local new stations and the local paper. I am hoping that someone will run a spot on what is happening. Thank you for taking time to read my letter and post your thoughts. If anyone has questions please post them here and I will answear them as soon as possible.

  16. PBH says:

    I think the other outrageous aspect of this story is how much people were PAID to do this. Under $15 an hour to rip someone ELSE off for $100 an hour? Where does that $85 go?

  17. TOLJE says:

    I currently work for GS as a CIA, and believe me, GS services are outrageous and can be avoided. As posted above from someone else, local geeks can do it cheaper, faster, and with less hastle. I ran a PC repair job in my home town, competed with 3 other businesses and still made customers more happy than GS or any other place that claimed to do ‘Great’ service. Not only that I was able to do 2-3 computers for the same price that GS was charging. From the training I’ve recieved and the knowlegde I pickup of from working at GS, I suggest that no one goes to a Geek Squad or have a GS agent come to their house. In fact, I’ve begun looking for a new job, and I’ve only worked for GS for ONE month!!

  18. cityrocker says:

    I applied for a Geek Squad job that was going to pay me $13.50 an hour. Being a desperate college student the job offer seemed heavenly, but after learning about BB’s unethical practices I’ve decided not take the offer. Now I’m going to be a waiter! At least now I won’t have to rip people off to keep my job!

  19. Kat says:

    Hey ModestMac, I said I worked as a Best Buy tech BEFORE Geek Squad came in, and that was what they paid me. I never said I worked for Geek Squad.

  20. prettyfacebesideatrain says:

    To ModestMac:
    If you work for the Geek Squad, you must still be a cadet, because after 2 years of training, you still can’t spell.
    as for the targeting of the elderly and the ignorant, if Best Buy wants to be so community minded, how about adopting a policy akin to Home Depot’s DIY in-store teaching policy? invite your uneducated customers to their local Best Buy for a class in DIY computer awareness? (Like maybe how to buy a $5.00 can of compressed air and blow out those dust bunnies or download Spybot) you would more likely gain their trust in the long run.
    as it stands, in 5 more years, you’ll have a lot less customers who trust you because of the outrageous pricing and frequency of returns for the same or related problems.

    ModestMac, if you want to ignore the corporate rule of “meet production,keep your job”, that’s your business, but don’t try to insult another man’s attempt to set things right! Kudos to Kat2!

  21. BUJ says:

    I PAID $370 FOR GEEK SQUAD TO INSTALL MY HOME WIRELESS… SILLY ME…I THOUGH BUYING THROUGH BEST BUY WOULD GET ME GOOD SERVICE AND SAVE ME THE IRRITATION OF DOING A SELF INSTALL… THE TECH CAME OUT AND DID THE INSTALL…AFTER HE LEFT I DISCOVERED ONE OF THE TERMINALS WOULD NOT CONNECT TO THE WIFI… WOW…I HAD TO CALL 2 TIMES… WOW…NOW I WAS TOLD TO WAIT ANOTHER 2 WEEKS FOR THEM TO COME OUT AND RE-SERVICE THEIR WORK… THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NOT VERY HELPFUL…THEY HAVE THAT TONE OF VOICE LIKE I’M INTERRUPTING THEIR NAIL POLISHING TIME… SO…WHEN I COMPLAINED THEY TOLD ME TO CALL THE STORE… LOL… I COULD HAVE DONE THAT ON MY OWN… ANYWAY, I’M NOT VERY SATISFIED… I FEEL I PAID A LOT FOR VERY MEDIOCRE SERVICE

  22. durr says:

    PBH says:

    I think the other outrageous aspect of this story is how much people were PAID to do this. Under $15 an hour to rip someone ELSE off for $100 an hour? Where does that $85 go?

    Where the fuck do think it goes eh?

  23. caspira says:

    I currently work for Geek Squad and I also agree that the prices are outrageous. I would never pay anyone that kind of money to do the repairs we do. The daily budgets force the technicians to sell as many services as possible and this is why people often get quoted large amounts of money.

    HOWEVER, this IS still America and you do not have to waste your money. No repairs are done unless approved by the customer. Most computer problems that come into the store are related to virus/spyware infections, which ONLY come from bad web-surfing habits. Ignorance is not an excuse due the the nature of the problem. These customers OBVIOUSLY have internet access and can do some research on their own. The internet is home to a wonderful wealth of knowledge. Everyone knows that.

    If you feel you’re being ripped off, go somewhere else. That is the beauty of capitalism. You can either take some resposiblity for what happens to you, or you can live with this victim mentality and always be taken advantage of.

    C’mon people, you’re smarter than this.

  24. Dalamar says:

    Caspira, I think the issue is where to draw the line. “Ignorance is not an excuse due to the nature of the problem,” well, how far can one take this? Just because the products in this case are unneeded computer services (represented as necessary) instead of the “snake oil” miracle cures of the past makes it different?

    There are consumer protection and fraud laws for a reason. You’re right, this *is* America, and we’ve decided as a society that at a certain point asking every consumer to be an expert in everything they might purchase isn’t feasible, and there should be some legal limitations to the duplicity/misrepresentation that is permissible in the marketplace.

    It’s easy to say “Well, they should just know better!” when you are knowledgeable in the subject.

    This isn’t a “victim mentality,” it’s a question of the standards we want to have collectively. I would rather live in a society where there’s a degree of assurance in market transactions that I’m not being completely taken advantage of. I have neither the time nor the desire to spend hours of research on every product I might need or vendor I may do business with.

    I believe a balance is needed, a set of agreed-upon boundaries within which to compete, otherwise people will have to spend so much energy just to not be ripped off that the market will actually work *less* effectively.

  25. tieber says:

    1st of all you are speaking of the experiences of 1 Geek Squad location as I am the DCI of a Geek Squad precinct we only do the right thing. There is not instruction to rip off customers. You said that you were a senior THEN a full-time agent…. it sounds like you got demoted and are bitter about it.

    2nd of all Best buy/Geek Squad doesn’t fire anyone on the spot for anything, let alone for not driving revenue, yes with months of bad fiscal performance someone responsible would eventually be “performanced out”, but that’s the case anywhere you have a consumer driven business.

    You are all consumer-monkeys, hypocrites sitting here typing away on your computers that came from “evil” retailers. You all come here and talk about evil retailers taking advantage of consumers…. STOP CONSUMING IF YOU HATE IT SO MUCH!!! You bring the same attitude you are showing here into the stores and abuse the underpaid, exploited associates with the same language and temper that you use in these blogs, then you complain that the service sucks. the only reason that service sucks is because your attitudes piss-off the staff.

    Demongite had the only intelligent post, exploring the possibility that this is isolated to one store. In fact when the xbox 360 came out some Best Buys FORCED people to buy games with the unit to qualify them for purchase, the company fired every associate responsible for that, so instead of posting here to look like a whistle blower to these people maybe the author should contact the corporate office and hold the people at this particular store accountable.

    And btw Jackie, you talk about kicking some ass… why would a Geek Squad agent be easy to beat up? because we wear funny clothes including clip-on ties? Come to my Precinct and try to kick my ass, I will mop the floor with you, my friend.

    • wmsurfer says:

      @tieber: Even though this post is 3 years old, I have to say, its flippin awesome lol (BTW, I am currently a Geek Squad agent going on 5 years, and I hold true to my moral values during every single customer interaction and would not under any circumstances attempt to essentailly ‘rob’ a customer and attempt to ‘overcharge’ a little as possible for issues people have when they come into the store.

      If, like some of the examples above, a customer were to have a tracking cookie or two or a toolbar in IE that ‘broke their internets’ the least I do is disable the toolbar and delete all temporary internet files and charge the least possible fee which is a ‘Quick-Fix’ fee of 20$. True, if the problem were deeper than that a and we would have to check it in the price could be as high as 199$, (129 with if there is a service plan on it, or 0$ if they bought the service plan with Virus and spyware troublshooting included). Imagine if GS employees were paid 10 an hour and they only got 10 customers in a day and they charged 10 – 20 dollars a fix for every customer, Best Buy would not be able to afford a business like that, they’d always be in the hole…

      On the topic of being able to beat-up Geek Squad Agents… where I’m located, almost all the Agents here are either Army or Ex Army, good luck with taking them on in melee combat… lol

      After working with Best Buy for 5 years at 3 different locations I can say that the majority of the GeekSquad employees I’ve worked with genuinely wanted to help the customer and would rather not overcharge the customer, but those employees that could care less about the company or the customer, they wouldn’t last 2 months.

  26. Consumer1 says:

    TIEBER, did you not know that this is the Consumerist- Shoppers Bite Back. If a customers attitude pisses an employee off bad enough to cause consumer rip off, then maybe they should find a new line of work. Calling consumers consumer-monkeys and hypocrites really made to where they’ll shop at your store.RIGHT! I’m not sure what a DCI is but maybe your boss should take a look at your blog and decide if this is the best thing for your company. Did you really feel good about telling someone to come to you and you would kick thier ass. Come on grow up a little. This is a form for people to get out thier frustrations. Leave them alone. Best Buy/ Geek Squad is just like most companies. You work there because no one else will hire you and consumers still go there because they are to lazy to find some way to get things done right.

    By they way everyone should try DELL.COM. After the horrible experience with Best Buy and Geek Squad, this is the only place my company (and for personal use) goes for computers or work on a computer.
    Try and smile life isn’t this hard.

  27. GeekMan says:

    I work on the geek squad right now. None of this is true. I am leaving the company soon for better opportunity because I hate working in customer service. However, as much as I hate my job, I atleast will defend it against idiots like this. The entire world takes their broken computers to geeksquad. At any given bestbuy, we check in atleast 20 computers on a daily basis. The only bad thing is that greedy Best Buy does not give us the manpower to work on all these computers in a timley manner. The budget thing is a flat out lie. The thing is, its retail. Bestbuy is in the business to make money and the average consumer is willing to give us their money to make them happy. You expect us to repair your computers for free? HAH! Try getting your car fixed for free or under 20$… You are paying for the know-how. Anyways, yes we do have budgets that we try to reach, but its reached by every employee making sure that people that come into our store have their needs met. Not by decieveing people. Noone has ever been fired over not hitting a budget goal. Jesus christ…

  28. vilseck21 says:

    Plese excuse the spelling

    I was a double agent for about 2 years at store 180 in Frisco Texas. I was an Agent before BBY sunk there fangs into GS and sucked the very life out of it, and turned it into a mindless corpse that it is today. The GS of today is an abomanation of what it was like in its yesteryear. Corprate greed has forced most of the orginal agents out. I was a computer tech, not a sales guy. The GS agents have a mandatory 50% attachement ratio that they must bring in. So if you call an agent out to your house for a 249 OS service, plan on spending 400 dollars. Here are just a few small shadey example of how we were forced to operate

    1. I was at a cust home and she was having prooblems with her gfx on her machine. It turned out that her gfx card was shot, and needed to be replaced. This lady was about 65 years old and only ued her 3 year old HP for email. I did not have an AGP card in my bug, so I called my store and had cadet Andre Dolan(whom is the most mindless moron I have ever meet) bring me one. My store manager stepped in hand told him to bring a NIVIDIA 7800 GS. What the hell is this lady going to do with this card. I called my manager and asked him why, and his responce was that computer sales are lagging, i know you can sell this. Well consodering i have to pay rent and eat, I made the sale, on top of that there was a 129 diag fee, and a 69 dollar IO install fee. This poor lady should have kicked me out of her house. This was a prime example of how they wanted to make a quick buck, and not a custmer

    2. There was an idiot tech that was looking at an odd fan noise inside the cust computer while it was on. The moron dropped the screw into the machine and immeadatly fried the MOBO. The DCI explaned to the cust that during the diag the MOBO had suddnely died and would need a replacement at the cust cost. DISHONEST AT BEST

    3. I went into a cust home to help a Special Agent install Win XP PRO on a small business cust home. He was also getting a server set up, and needed pro machines to attach to the doamin. He had 4 new HP comps running Win Media Center. Thoes XPs never got installed, all he did was hack the registery and got them on the domain. He removed the keys, and took them home, but there was a charge of 4 OS installs.

    4. AGENT JONNEY UTAH. basically our main premase is that it is impossable to truley fix a computer remotely. If is can be fixed on-line then its not that bad. Now they realize that Horhay in Guaaharalla can click a few buttons and follow a script and magically fix a mochine. This is just plain stupid.

    GS is a violation of everything that is good, and most agents have no certs at all. You need to be warned that these people are not hired on for the skills but for their sales. Our DCI (they guy incharge of the GS at the local best buy) was the ACE seinor, and knew nothing about computers. They dont care about their agents or their custmers, only the bottome line. Its amazing how BBY can expect to get good people for what they pay. They only want people to move boxes, and not spend too much time on one custmer. Its cheaper for them to have only 2 or 3 ppl on the floor just handing people boxes then accualy helping them out

    I workd as a CIA, Cadet, and a Double Agent. I was promoted my the ranks and was forced out b/c i followed a the DA Hand Book, and when they said that one or 2 pages were no longer valied, even though this was never announced. What it came down to was I was making 19.77 an hour, and there was another that was willing to take my job for 14.00 an hour. You get what you pay for. I do not know how this guy was an agent, let alone become a double agent. The funniest thing he ever said was that WIN Xp dosent need to be defraged not matter how old the computer is

    If you use GS services be warrned. If they tell you that you have spyware DO NOT let them fix it. There idea of a fix is

    1. Remove most start ups
    2. do a registery tweek that essensually does nothing but spped up print sharing
    3. Install spysweeper,and run it
    4. run ccleaner

    All of thoes are free except for the 30 dollar spysweeper. I now work as desktop support for an advertising agency. I am a good tech, but BBY doesent want good techs. They want ppl that can move macnins and boxes as fast as they can.

    If you guys want some more examples for bad practsis then let me know, or have any comment plese post them. I was a di-hard agent and i did good work, but slowly got demoralized do to the obviously poor managment of the bean counters, and the incompondance morons that they hire

    I EMPLORE YOU DO NOT USE THE GS SERVICES. If u need good coumputer work done go to your local mom and pop shop, they have been doing it longer than GS has

  29. Wolvy says:

    I work for the GS at the moment. And I just find is way fun to sit here and read all of this. I just want to touch on a few things here.

    First and foremost, yes as a multi billion dollar company, the stores have budgets to meet. Can you believe that? WTF is wrong with this country now a days. So, in turn the company is going to push the service end of their buisness because it is the most profitable. (If said employee get’s $15.00 and hour, that is $85.00 profit vs selling a $400.00 computer, that at cost is $370.00 for a $30.00 profit)

    So, it is basically left to the people who are selling and performing the services to be of a sound and moral judgement. I will not speak to anyone else, just to how I am. When looking at someone’s PC I would always give plenty of options of what they could do. Would I sucker someone into paying $300.00 for me to fix a computer that was 4 years old? GOD no. That is wrong in so many ways. Not only is it ethically wrong, but from a buisness stand point. We will make more money by selling them a new PC for the cost we would charge for fixing their old one. The customer is happy, and we have more opprotunities to offer them more. Are there ethically challenged people in this world? Yes, but you can just the whole by the actions of a few.

    Does GS charge a lot for the services they perform? I guess that is all a matter of perspective. I am car stupid. I probably couldn’t change the oil in my car, and have no want or desire to do so. So, I take it somewhere to have it done. Whenever I do this, I am offered other services when it is being changed. Flush and fill on the radiator, transmission stuff, air filter, tune up. And guess what, before I say “yeah, go ahead and do that”. I have the option to see if I really need it done. I make the choice on if I have the service performed. As do the countless people who bring their computers in to be fixed at a BB. Don’t look down on GS because they have a service and put a dollar ammount on it. Consumers have choices, plain and simple. It is up to the consumer to make that decision. If they feel they are being lead astray, they can go else where to seek their service needs. And quite possibly have a GREAT experience, or an awful one. That all depends on one thing, and one thing only. The person that is doing the work.

    GS Agens have many responsibilities. If it were just fixing old computers, the job would be a cake walk. But we have to not only fix old PC’s, but set up new ones, handle all the customers that come in with questions. Check-in, all warranty and service work that needs to be sent out for repair. Shipping and receiving of all equipment. Call all the customers that have units in the store to inform them what is going on, and let them know if we need things from them. On any given day, we have 60+ items in our store that are either in a being repaired status, waiting on items from customer, ready to pick up, or abandoned status. And on any given day, we have 5 people that are working all of this from open to close. So, I would say, to the GS Precinct that does a good job, to cut them some slack, because it is a lot of work. Not to mention having to deal with upset customers on a daily basis either because they are dissatisfied with the product they purchased, or a service.

    And as to anyone who is reading this forum and “KNOWS” how to work on computers. There are 3 billion plus people in this country. And not all of them are as proficient in the fixing and repair of electronics. Just because something may be easy for you to do, does not mean it will be the same for all. BB GS offers this service at a flat rate to those who don’t know how to do it. Or those who know, but just don’t have the time to do it.

    My advice to the consumers of the world would be to educate themselves before dropping money on something. Don’t walk blindly into a situation, because you can get burnt. Take the time to listen, read and become somewhat knowledgable in money situations. The more you know as a consumer, the more sound you will feel with your purchases.

  30. Wolvy says:

    And to comment to vilseck21’s post above.

    1.I know that as far a BB policy & procedure goes, the only people on the GS that can go to a customers house are the DA’s. Having a cadet driving something to a customers house would be a huge violation of that. Also, as a DA myself I know that if the customer needed an AGP card, I would have drove back to the store myself to get one.

    2. That is wrong, and I would guess that you spoke with the management about that and let them know the agents name that messed up the computer so that he could be reprimanded for the action right? And if the management didn’t do anything, you probably went to HR and let them know?

    3.Same questions apply here as were asked in the number 2.

    4.Jonny Utah is a new thing, that will be refined as time moves on. It’s not a bad thing, but as with anything it has to start somewhere. It actually works very well, they just need to get the time on which it takes down. It helps the stores become more efficient.

    This could all happen anywhere this type of work is done. GS is singled out because of the size. In the end it comes down to the people. And not all of them are good.

  31. ShadowFalls says:

    Wolvy, just to point out, no country has 3 billion+ people.

    I’ve looked at Geek Squad prices, even judged their skills and knowledge on a first hand basis. They are simply not qualified to do the work. In more than one case, they have sold services that were not needed.

    Sure, I can understand people not knowing about computers. But, when it is your job to know and a person who is not too familiar, should be able to trust that you aren’t ripping them off.

    Besides, if the customers knew they didn’t need these services, they probably could fix the computer themselves. Quite simply, they are being taken advantage of. In more than one case, I have heard them try to use complicated lingo to confuse a customer, give them bad advice in attempt to sell something.

    I have worked on a large number of clients who recently had Geek Squad work on their computers and screw them up, or in the past and felt like they were ripped off. These people were not only surprised at the better prices, but how I could relate to them, trying to get them to save money, not to mention instruct them in a couple of things and explain to them about their problem in a way they can understand, not confuse them intentionally for my own personal gain.

    Also, there is a matter of people’s data, GS does not seem to see the personal data of an individual either, important or sacred. In more than one case, GS employees have been seen peeking at customer’s files for no good reason. At no time do you need to view their files to back them up, you just need to know where they are at most.

    I have found trust to be very important, it keeps people coming back. I have at no time had a customer come back with the same problem, it is a testament to my thoroughness and keen skills.

  32. billco says:

    24 hour scans EEK! Maybe I’m just too old for this business, but I don’t even bother with scans. I just go looking right where malware installs itself: startup files, the registry (Run/Services keys) and browser “helper” objects. Whenever I get any suspicions of ill behaviour, it takes less than a minute to clean it out. Even stubborn malware that constantly reinstalls itself is easily thwarted by using a little utility that deletes files at reboot, before the malware has any chance of loading into memory.

    If people were just a little more attentive to what they do online (and kept their kids off the pirate sites), malware would not be such a plague. How hard is it to not open random attachments or click “Yes” on unrequested popups ?

    – “Click here to shoot yourself”

    – Ummm.. [YES] (click) BOOM!

  33. rebornphoenix says:

    Wow, apparantly most or you have never tried to run a business. Geek Squad/Best Buy = Business. Business = Profit. Profit = Making money. Go back an take high school economics. We are not a charity, we make money on everything we sell in the store. Whether it is a $100 Geek Squad service, or a $10 DVD. The simple fact is this. Nobody is twisting your arm to take advantage of our services. we offer our services, it is the CUSTOMER’S CHOICE whether or not the want to purchase it. There are thousands and thousands of computers being purchased year after year. They are being bought by everyone from the 19 year old college kid, to the 75 year old retired couple. Not everyone needs our services, if you can fix your PC on your own, more power to you. But if someone needs help, and if they feel more comfortable having it fixed by a company with a 13 year history, and billions and billions of dollars in revenue standing behind it, rather than “Bob’s Computer Shack”, who are you to criticize? Mistakes will happen, guess what, WE’RE HUMAN TOO!! Everyone feels the need to judge based on one experience, you do not hear the overwhelming complements we receive on a more personal level at the stores. All you hear is one angry person’s bad experience. On behalf of Agents everywhere I do apologize for the negative experience you had while working for Geek Squad/Best Buy. But don’t run to the ‘net and blast all of us for doing our jobs and following the rules. Some of us take pride in the work we do, and the positive experiences we provide.

  34. dorne007 says:

    people can’t be expected to know everything, it’s impossible to know when you’re being ripped off with all the thousands of different types of products the average person buys. that’s the reason for the fraud laws. lots of people have to use computers for various reasons and can’t be bothered to become geeks just like if a medical doctor did something terrible to you, it’s not your fault if you don’t have enough medical knowledge to tell. i just got a+ and have been trying to get into the industry but I will not be applying to any of these big box computer stores based on what i’ve read here and plenty of other accounts. regardless if it’s criminal it is definitely unethical. nobody has to work there from what i’ve seen you can do just as well on your own and get to dress much better besides.

  35. geekedatbirth says:

    Thank you rebornphoenix .. I also am a geeksquad agent at a local best buy in Massachusetts and to tell you Yes I think our prices are kinda High and if you ask any agent who works at a geeksquade they will agree with me .. its corporate that sets the prices on stuff we have to obey but the fact of the matter is your not paying for services done really your paying for are knowledge and ability to help you out when something gos wrong you dnt sit there and argue a price with a automotive mechanic cuz if you could of done it your self in the first place you wouldnt of had to take it to them to get fixed or tuned up now would you …

  36. sle212 says:

    I bought a Gateway laptop about 2 years ago and was convinced to buy a 3-year service plan. After having it about 1 year, the power button got jammed and I took it in for repair. It was “fixed” and returned to me. I just experienced the same problem, where I could not press the power button to turn it on. It was jammed once again. I took it in again for repair.

    I just received a call from the Geek Squad, advising me that the power button was fixed, but that they also had to replace my hard drive and if I wanted my data (2 years of documents, etc.) restored, it would cost me $279.00, which, by the way, was NOT covered by the service plan.

    I was told that I signed a waiver that it was my responsibility to back up all data, so they may not be able to do anything for me, and I would have to pay $279 to get my data.

    However, I did not have any problems with my hard drive and did not take it in for a hard drive repair.

    Second, I did not LOSE my data (which, I understand, is not covered by the service plan), but they removed the data from my computer by unnecessarily replacing my hard drive in the course of repairing the power button. To the extent that they still had the data and the ability to restore it, they should have done so without charging me.

    Finally, the “waiver” I signed was, in actuality, ten numbered paragraphs on a service order that was printed out AFTER they took my computer and had me sign an altogether different form. Moreover, they never pointed out anything on that fine print form, and certainly never explained that there was any risk of losing data (or a hard drive) in the course of fixing a power button.

    Here’s my question: Is this standard practice (or is there pressure) to find ways to charge people for services that are not covered under the service plan?

    Also, the guy from corporate who I complained to said that GS will usually run a diagnostic on the computer and fix whatever seems to be problematic even if it isn’t the precise thing that the customer brought the computer in for. Is this true?

  37. sle212 says:

    I noticed in the tune-up and system optimization section of the GS manual, that it says that this should be done on EVERY computer regardless of the problem.

    Is there a separate charge for a tune-up and optimization? It looks like it is nothing more than removing temporary files. Is it really necessary to do on every computer regardless of the problem?

  38. Chevyxtreme00 says:

    If Geek Squad is such a bad thing and we Geeks are such idiots, then why does Toshiba and now HP look to us to do the manufacturers warranty work? I am a CIA at the new Geek Squad City location in Hillview KY and we move thousands of units a week through our location.

    SLE212: I understand you did not send your unit in for a harddrive change. But think of your computer like this- In the lifetime of your car your battery or alternator will likely go bad at least once, you try to do regular maintenance to prevent these issues. If your hard drive would have failed at home would you have even had the ability to recover the data???? We try to ensure against data loss by finding issues early before they go to the point of unrecoverable.

    Next issue- Has any one called Charter communications or insight anytime lately, they also have upsell goals when you call them to get your cable fixed.

    The training received at Geek Squad City is better than what I have seen at other electronics companies that I have worked for in the past.

    Now for the final: Having A+ hardware or OS does not mean JACK. I have attended college for computer sciences and MCSE, but I will not waste the excessive money to take a test (A+) that means nothing to the majority of companies today.

  39. genesis50 says:

    I recently used the Geek Squad for a graphics card installation that was supposed to take two hours. Instead, I received a phone call that stated instead of picking up my computer, I had to wait about a week because they blew up my motherboard and it would take about a week to fix it. I waited a week and a half and found out I needed to wait an additional week. I complained and had it back in three days. I brought it home and it didn’t work. I am now engaged in hot debates with the consumer complaint department, local television station advocate and the customer service department of Best Buy. I will never, ever, never, never, never….infinity ~ use the Geek Squad again.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I had a hp laptop the hinges broke so there was no support fot the screen. So I went to best buy and they sent it to Geek squad.A few days later they called saying it will cost over 2800 dollars.
    The hp was a little over a year old and only cost
    around 1200.

  41. kfish117 says:

    Okay, I would like to comment on Moonshine Mike’s saying that computer techs usually fall into two categories – one being kids who think they know everything…. First of all, I will agree that kids DO NOT know everything and there is a majority of them out there like that who “talk out of their asses”. However, I am 16 and I happen to know many of those “older guys who just tak longer”. They take longer because they do not know what they are doing and have to research it. I have repaired computers before and I too agree that GeekSquad is not a good solution for computer service. It is true that they do not know what they’re doing, and I too have seen them not wearing ESD wristbands whilst working on a customer’s electronic merchandise. I don’t use one for my computer, but for someone else’s, you best believe I do. Sorry Mike, but it bothers me that just because a kid might possibly be better than you at something, it doesn’t mean they “think they know everything”. If you take it into perspective this way, how long have computer’s really been out with problems that we have today? Not more than 6 or 7 years (since the start of Windows XP). That would make me 10, when I first started using a computer. Please never underestimate the knowledge of someone who is younger than yourself.

  42. allthatremains says:

    GS prices for computer repair are on par with national averages. Yes people could often fix the problems that they rely on GS to resolve themselves with free software that is easy to use. They could also perform minor home repairs, change their oil, do their taxes, and mow their lawns. However many people don’t have the time, patience, or desire to do so. They could research how to fix their computer on the internet or provide a meal and $20 to the local college student. Instead they choose a global company to assist in repairing their home computer. Imagine that!

    In regard to GS being evil as a whole: 1) I know the local guy in charge of GS in town and in addition to working at GS he is a Senior Sys-Admin for another global company. I can testify to the fact that he would not participate in the fraud mentioned by ex-geek-squader. 2) In reqard to people bringing their PC back for the same problems; if people did not use P2P, click on pop-up ads, and surf P0rn they probably wouldn’t have the same issue. 3) There is no way any real technician would “know” that removing a spyware takes 24 hours. I have a college degree in computers, an A+, Net+, MCP, MCSA, MCSE, CISA, and am working towards a Masters in Information Assurance. I think I qualify as a “technician” 4) I agree with another comment that says this guy sounds hacked off because he got demoted and eventually dismissed.

    However, before you accuse GS of fraud on the large scale basis like ex-geek-squader is suggesting, you might consider that a company as large as GS has a few bad apples.

  43. jbjoker says:

    I’m not sure what store this guy had worked for, but as a current Geek Squad employee, I must say that we don’t operate that way. Our turnaround time is about 24-48 hours and units get done right. I know because I personally work on them. As far as budgets go, you don’t get terminated if you don’t hit your budget, it’s just expected revenue and that’s all. Now as far as anti-virus software goes, most people come in with expired no brand software and ask us if we could install a new one and uninstall the old. And for the record, an OS service is a pretty general charge for fixing whatever is wrong with your OS. If we feel it is a minor issue or something that takes 30 mins or less, we would charge them $30 for 30 mins of labor. I agree with everyone else who said that this guy is just upset that he was canned. If you don’t believe me, I’m sorry. BestBuy/GeekSquad is a good company, I wouldn’t work for them or even stick up for them if I thought otherwise.

  44. JazzmanSA80 says:

    @adamondi: A scan with Symantec on an older machine can easily take a day.

  45. ShyamasriAgelaus says:

    Geek squad has had my computer for 53 days with no end in sight. When I call Best Buy HQ, they tell me tough,” you have an agreement and in the agreement there is no timeline and Best buy doesn’t owe you jack for your lost time!”

  46. Anonymous says:

    I severely doubt that this sort of deception is happening in every store. i work in the computers department at Best Buy and i seriously believe in the services that the Geek Squad sells. Now the pricing may be a little high i agree but services such as the optimization which is $40 is something that one of you “local geeks” can not do. You can try and convince people you can do this but truth is you can not. this is strictly software that the geek squad recieves from microsoft. microsoft employees also do not have this software so do not believe that someone can do this for you, truth is geek squad members are the only people who can do this and with this service making your computer ATLEAST 20% there is no reason that someone should not by this. As far as immediate termination for not attatching services and accessories, once again this i do not believe. Our managers tell us all the time “i will never go up to you and tell you, you have to sell a service on this…” they want us to sell services, but in no way will we be fired if we do not sell the services. Our hours are also not based on how well we attatch services, and because we are not on commission at Best Buy, there is no reason for us to sell these services unless we feel they are neccessary. Many people can not do the things that the geek squad can and they would much rather have a person who has an actual job like this rather than a person who works out of their home. Geek Squad agents are very knowledgable they are not just some guys who know how to turn a computer on, they can do whatever you “local geeks” can do…..and then some.

  47. Anonymous says:

    This is mostly directed towards LilyAegialeia. In no way can you say that GS employees can do things that no one else can! You need to come back down to earth and realize that you work for a box store. Just because you have a piece of software designed by microsoft doesn’t mean that no one else can manually do what it does. If it was that easy, then why doesn’t microsoft have a utility built into windows that does that for microsoft’s customers? Huh, you never thought about that. Furthermore, you and all your GS tricks, techniques, and software can never give you more experience and actual knowlegde. I would love to hear you really explain what that microsoft software REALLY does. I would challenge you or any of your…haha…double agent’s….to a computer fix challenge. You can have all the tools and software you want. I will only have an internet connection. I would show you up and fix it better and in less time. Guaranteed!!!!!

  48. LordDagoth says:

    I can optimize my computer myself…it’s called Linux XD. Anyway.

    I can’t speak for dishonesty, but I will say (at least in my province) that the vast majority of Geeks are underqualified for their positions. Quite simply, the Geek Squad offers crappy wages compared to what a qualified technician can get. In addition, the wait times are terrible- I believe currently the average time is nearly a month for repairs, although I’m not totally certain. Never mind the fact that your average computer literate person can perform the vast majority of the OS services themselves. I know from experience that configuring an OS or an antivirus system is simply a matter of following the instructions on the screen, and processes like defragmentation aren’t much more difficult. Paying $40+ for something so easy is ridiculous.

    So, we have an overpriced service, provided by generally poor technicians (or at least those not bright enough/too apathetic to get a job elsewhere), and you have to wait a ridiculously long time for it. That’s a gouge to me, whether or not there’s lying involved.